Hands-on / Mister Slime

I had a very unique hands on experience with Lexis Numérique’s Mister Slime during our little adventure at NYCC last weekend. When I picked up the DS the game was playing on, I realized that (a) I had never heard of the game even though it is designed by Paul Cuisset and (b) wasn’t being instantly bombarded by a person at the SouthPeak booth who wanted to explain every last facet of the game to me in hyper detail, as is usually the case with hands-on events. It was actually kind of nice, especially for a game like Mister Slime where discovering the gameplay and quirky charm is half the fun. So to the people who were at the SouthPeak booth, I thank you for letting me dive into this action side-scroller without any help or guidance.

Now, let me instantly deny you the same satisfaction by telling you all about this second game at SouthPeak’s booth that completely and totally caught me off guard with its fun gameplay and quality design.

You play as a cute ball of slime whose only means of transportation are his four arms which can stretch out and grab little knobs that are all over each level. By placing your stylus you can stretch an arm out a certain distance and grab onto another point. If you aren’t holding onto a knob then you fall or roll or sit still. Think of Super Mario Galaxy’s star pulling but with the possibility of four anchor points instead of just two.

The controls are crazy simple as far as I saw and utilize almost every part of the DS, even the microphone. You just tap Slimey, the young ball of slime, and stretch an arm out with your stylus. You can also pull him back when connected to two points by pressing either of the shoulder buttons and thus launch him like a sling shot. It only took me a couple of seconds to figure it all out and soon I was swinging from peg to peg with the greatest of ease. That is until enemies started showing up and knocking me down. Turns out the game has some challenge to it as well. I got stuck multiple times thanks to enemies knocking me down and had to plan my movements with some surprising speed and agility. Just like Roogoo, Mister Slime‘s gameplay belies its cute exterior.

The story follows Slimey on a quest to find out more about an ancient war between his people, the Slimes, and their enemies the Axons. Seems the Slimes and the Axons have been engaged in a bitter rivalry over land for as long as anyone can remember. Every 40 years, the two nations wage war on each other as part of a ritual to redefine their territorial boundaries. The battle is about to occur again and while the rest of the Slimes are preparing to go to war, Slimey decides to figure out why the whole thing started in the first place. From my time spent playing the game I would have never even have guessed at such an intricate plot. Not because there weren’t hints towards there being one but because, in all fairness, Slimey looks more like the type of game character who would be searching for his lost teddy bear, not attempting to stop a centuries old war. I guess you should never judge a game by its art style.

Overall, it’s hard to get a bead on Mister Slime. I saw plenty of great ideas and the plot sounds to be far deeper than most DS games, but at the same time I’m not sure how well the ambitious game is going to handle itself in full length. The game, which has a Spring 2008 release date, could be one of the best uses of the DS’s stylus controls but, without some really creative level design, it could really just waste them. We’ll have to wait and see how the whole thing shapes up but DS owners should definitely keeping their eyes on this one.

[See also: Mister Slime gallery]